A host of eccentric characters flirt, dance and vie for the limelight in MacMillan’sÂ Elite Syncopations (1974), a ballet that brings togetherÂ comedic flair and Scott Joplinâ€™s ragtime music.Â At a previous revival, we had paired up with Birmingham Royal Ballet to coverÂ those eye-catchingÂ psychedelic costumes by Ian Spurling, a big favorite over here.
This time, we asked BRB’s dancers to play “caption this photo” with us and they responded, imagining what characters like the Stop Time Rag Girl, the Bethena Waltz Suitor and theÂ Alaskan Rag couple areÂ thinking or saying to each other during the ballet. With many thanks to BRB and in particular to dancers CÃ©line Gittens, Tyrone Singleton, Tzu-Chao Chou, Yvette Knight,Â Lachlan Monaghan,Â Brandon Lawrence, and Delia Mathews, we leave you with aÂ pop culture homage to this perennially pop ballet:All photos: Â© Birmingham Royal Ballet
Elite Syncopations is part of the upcoming ‘Penguin CafÃ©’ mixed bill which also includes MacMillan’s ‘Concerto’ and David Bintley’s ‘Still Life at the Penguin CafÃ©’. This mixed bill runs fromÂ 27 to 30 September 2017 at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
The ballet also returns as part of aÂ special programme, ‘Kenneth MacMillan: a National Celebration’,Â this autumn at the ROH, performed by dancers from BRB, plus English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, The Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet.